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to know your usage spiked last year. This is understandable given the circumstances at the time. Now you have a lot of motivation to put down your phone and close your laptop: taking a walk outside, exercising, or just sitting in the park can help your emotional and mental health.
The same goes for preteens and teens. Their increased screen time due to online learning unfortunately tires their brains out. "Research has linked excessive screen time use with higher levels of anxiety and depression," said Chea Weltchek, PMH C LCPC and NCC, a clinical mental health counselor who specializes in child and adolescent parenting and behavior. "Unrestricted exposure to screens and constant engagement reduces concentration." On the other hand, nature has been shown to improve mood and cognition.
Don't worry if your child's phone seems to be sticking to their hands. Consider turning something on, not turning it off, says Michael Rich, MD, MPH, founder and director of the Digital Health Lab at Boston Children's Hospital. "Change is hard; it's better to replace their behavior with something they enjoy doing. Once they start exercising, they usually stay that way because it makes them feel better physically and mentally," he said. explained.
Try the ideas below to get teens thinking about going out.
Give them choices. "Invest in toys or equipment that they're interested in using outdoors," advises Lauren Tingley, a certified parenting coach and founder of Simply Well Balanced, a website that provides tips on parenting, housework and activities for children. Consider: a bike, scooter, pogo stick, trampoline, bungee cord, basketball hoop, or dog. "All of these programs also provide opportunities for children to learn new skills and improve their skills," Tinley added.
Start a project where they can help. Choose what they can use or have, Tinley said. Again, depending on your child's interests, you might build a chicken coop, start a vegetable garden or garden, or create a bird feeder. A quick online search will bring up a lot of ideas. "The trick here is to get them to make some important decisions and take ownership of the project," Tinley said. "Our daughter prefers to spend her time indoors, but she's happy to be outside working on her 'her cabin' , because she knew she would love it in the future. "
Recruit other parents. The parents of your child's friends may be concerned about their child's screen time. Gal Dubnov-Raz, MD, MS, Director of the Exercise, Nutrition and Lifestyle Clinic and Division of Exercise and Exercise Medicine at Edmund Shavra Children's Hospital recommends giving them a call and brainstorming ideas so your child can enjoy the excitement together collective activities. Services at Sheba Medical Center in Israel. Then make a game date (but don't say that because they're not kids anymore).
Invite them to join you. The key here is "invitation" - you don't force them to. But inadvertently mention that you're going for a picnic, hike, jog, or try canoeing or whatever, and ask them if they'd like to go together. Maybe they just agreed.
Start the challenge. Go for a walk, bike ride, run or hike with other parents and kids. Then choose a goal to work on together, like a 5K or a challenge route. "If kids are with people other than their peers or regular family members, it makes things fun, more motivating, and provides some anticipation," says Screen Time Circle chief executive, which manages devices to help tame screen time Officer Anne Bryan said.
build connection. "Children -- and adults -- sometimes don't have insight into how they're feeling," Vercek said. "Recognizing that it feels good to be outdoors helps connect that feeling and helps them become more involved in the outdoors in the future."
Set an example. "Parents have to mimic the behavior they want to see in their children," Ritchie said. If you use your phone a lot, you can't expect your kids to limit their screen time.